Leaders advocate for more trees to reduce ground-level ozone

Chief Conservator of Forest Mr Julius Kamau and other leaders marking International Day for Preservation of Ozone Layer in Nairobi (PHOTO, Courtesy)

NAIROBI, KENYA: Kenya Forest Service has today hosted the celebrations to mark the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer at Michuki Memorial Park in Nairobi County.

The Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko was joined by the Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau in leading a tree planting exercise to commemorate the day whose aim is to sensitize the world on the need for the Ozone Layer protection.

CS Tobiko noted that; "The commemoration offers an opportunity to create awareness and advocate for the protection of ozone for human well- being and call for collective responsibility for its preservation."

He recognized green spaces, such as Michuki Memorial Park, as a huge contributor to a clean atmosphere by acting as a sink for some of the global warming gases and pollutants.

Tobiko also stated that Kenya had signed the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and its Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone Layer in February 1988, and has ratified the London, Copenhagen, Montreal, and Beijing Amendments.

"The country is in the process of ratifying the Kigali Amendment as was adopted in October 2015, to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), chemicals that are ozone friendly but have negative impacts on the climate leading to global warming," said the CS.

The CCF explained the critical role forests play in regulating the environment by sequestering carbon and absorbing pollutant gases such as ammonia, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides thus protecting the ozone layer which in turn absorbs harmful ultraviolet rays that pose dire effects to human and the environment.

"According to research, growing trees is a cost-effective way to reduce ground-level ozone, a toxic component of smog," noted the CCF.

CCF Kamau also noted that forests have also been casualties of climate change impacts and stratospheric ozone depletion.

"To address the threats posed on forests by the aforementioned, the Service is collaborating with other government agencies, and partners to implement climate actions aiming at regaining the ecological functionality and enhancing human well-being of deforested and degraded landscapes," added CCF Kamau.

The event was attended by Nairobi County Governor Mike Sonko, MEF PS Dr. Chris Kiptoo, GIZ Country Director Bodo Immink, and UN-Habitat Kenyan Representative Cecilia Anderson who presented to the CS an inventory of Nairobi County's Public Spaces.

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